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Charlotte

@cha197

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Looking at screens have generated new myths

Similar to the old myth that if someone is sitting too close to the big tube TV, you would ruin your eyes, there are some new myths and facts about how screens affect our vision.

@cha197

What Happens to Your Eyes When You Stare at Screens All Day

vitals.lifehacker.com

Looking at screens for too long can cause eyestrain, but so can driving long distances. Eyestrain can be caused by other vision problems like farsightedness or astigmatism.

Eyestrain is caused by the small muscles in and around the eyes and can cause headaches, blurry vision, watering eyes, and sensitivity to light. It is often temporary and will improve if you look away from the computer screen now and then.

Blue light from electronic screens is not making you blind, nor does it cause any eye disease. While research finds blue light can damage cells under certain lab conditions, it is very different from what happens in the cells of our retina.

You get lots of blue light from the sun, not just from screens. Blue light-blocking filters don't block out much blue light. You could get the same effect by holding your screen one inch farther away.

  • Use the 20-20-20 rule if you spend long periods in front of screens. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. Giving your eyes other things to look at breaks the monotony that can cause eyestrain.
  • We also tend to blink less when looking at something for a long time. If your eyes feel dry when you look at a screen for long periods, use some eye drops.
  • Protect your eyes outdoors, as ultraviolet light from the sun can damage your eyes.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

BDD is a mental disorder where a person is preoccupied with an imagined or minor physical defect that others often cannot see.

As a result, people with BDD see themselves as "ugly" and often avoid social exposure. The preoccupation with the defect often leads to ritualistic behaviours, such as always looking in a mirror or picking at the skin. The person with BDD eventually becomes overly obsessed with the defect so that their social, work, and home functioning suffers.

Mental Health: Body Dysmorphic Disorder

webmd.com

The most common areas of concern include:

  • Skin imperfections: Wrinkles, scars, acne, and blemishes.
  • Hair: Including head or body hair or absence of hair.
  • Facial features: It often involves the nose but might involve the shape and size of any feature.
  • Bodyweight: Sufferers may obsess about their weight or muscle tone.

Other areas of concern include the size of the penis, muscles, breasts, thighs, buttocks, and body odours.

  • Engaging in repetitive behaviours, such as looking in a mirror, picking at the skin, trying to cover up the perceived defect.
  • Continually asking for reassurance that the defect is not too noticeable.
  • Repeatedly measuring or touching the perceived defect.
  • Experiencing problems at school or work, or in relationships, due to the inability to stop focusing on the perceived defect.
  • Feeling self-conscious and not wanting to go out in public.
  • Repeatedly consulting medical specialists to find ways to improve their appearance.

One theory suggests BDD involves a problem with the size or functioning of specific brain areas. BDD often occurs in people with other mental disorders, such as major depression and anxiety.

Other factors that trigger BDD include:

  • Experience of traumatic events or emotional conflict in childhood.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Parents and others who were critical of the person's appearance.
  • Pressure from peers and society that equates physical appearance with beauty and value.

Many BDD cases go unrecognised because people with the disorder often feel embarrassed and reluctant to speak about their concerns.

Treatment for BDD includes a combination of the following therapies:

  • Psychotherapy. Individual counselling focuses on changing the thinking and behaviour of a person with BDD.
  • Medication. Certain antidepressant medications called SSRIs are showing promise, as are antipsychotic medicines.
  • Group and/or family therapy.

The outlook is promising for people with BDD who receive and follow treatment. Those with a strong support team tend to do better in the long run.

People with BDD are at high risk for developing major depression, and the distress associated with the disorder puts people with BDD at high risk for suicide. Treatment is advisable as soon as a person begins to have symptoms. Encouraging healthy and realistic attitudes about body image is helpful, as well as a supportive environment.

Really see each other

Making eye contact with someone can relieve stress and create a deeper sense of connection. 

Even making eye contact with a stranger can soften your heart.

How to Be Mindful in Love - Mindful

mindful.org

When you talk with someone in person, notice the posture and body language of the other person. Focus on the tone in their voice. Consider the meaning of their words.

Touch is a way we communicate and essential to our development. Touch makes us feel safe and encourage trust, love, and compassion.

Reach out to your loved ones and see if you notice a difference.

Be interested

We often fall into a habit of thinking we know someone so well that we can predict their behaviors and responses.

Instead, be open and interested in those close to you as if you just met them.

Nothing breaks bonds like postponing or canceling commitments. 

Be honest with yourself and make or accept appointments you can commit to. Your relationships will flourish when you take the time to know others better.

Most of us have been vague about what we really need in the moment.

When you learn how to identify and express your needs clearly, you will be better understood and connect with the people in your life.

People are drawn to kind people because they feel cared about and safe with them.

When we practice kindness towards others, we help to build positive connections.

We should make an effort to be thoughtful with our words and actions. Before speaking to someone, consider:

  • Is it True
  • Is it Helpful 
  • Am I the best person to say it
  • Is it Necessary 
  • Is it Kind

Humans are 99.9% the same. We all want to feel cared for, be understood and belong somewhere. 

When you see someone you think is different from you, say, "Just like me." It may foster a better sense of connection in your life.

Experience joy for others

Make a point to notice others taking care of themselves, experiencing success, or having a good day. Be happy for them. You can even tell them, "Good job" or "I am so happy for you." It can boost your own good feelings.

Working From The Bedroom

Many of us are working from home, with our bedroom doing double duty as our office cabin. There is less exposure to daylight as we stay indoors more, mainly due to lack of a commute, resulting in our body clocks not syncing properly with the time of day.

These factors can affect our ability to sleep and also our sleep quality.

Is working in bed ruining your sleep and relationship? Here’s how to fix it

theguardian.com

Bright light in the mornings is crucial for an alertness boost, so a daily morning outdoors exercise routine is recommended.

Apart from that, warm and dim lighting at night promotes sleep.

Our sleeping space can be disrupted by work-related clutter that adds to stress, like reminders for tasks, and the deadlines that we dread.

This can result in poor sleep. It’s important to keep the bedroom area work-free post your working hours.

Working on the bed affects one’s sex life as well, as never in thousands of years has a couple been together 24 hours a day.

Working, eating, sleeping and parenting in the same area of space can make it difficult to switch context, and it may help to move some furniture, alter the lighting, or create a different environment using fragrances to ensure that there is a ‘break’ from the other routine work.

Keeping a food diary

A food diary is a useful tool to help people improve their health. It can help you understand your eating habits and help you identify what foods you eat regularly.

In a weight-loss study, participants who kept a daily food record lost twice as much weight as those who did not keep a record.

Why keep a food diary? - Harvard Health Blog

health.harvard.edu

  • Write down the food or beverage as soon as you consume it.
  • Be very specific. If you are drinking a latte, write down the type and size.
  • Include any alcoholic beverages you consume.
  • Use smartphone apps like Lose It! or MyFitnessPal for information on calories and other nutrients.
  • Write down what specific foods you are eating, your beverage consumed, and how your food is prepared (baked, fried, etc.) Include sauces and dressings.
  • List how much you are eating in household measures (cups, teaspoons, tablespoons.) If possible, weigh and measure your food.
  • Note the times you're eating to identify potentially problematic times, such as late-night snacking.

Also jot down where you are eating, what else you're doing while eating, who you eat with, and how you feel while eating.

Step back and look what you've recorded. Look for trends, patterns, or habits. You might consider these questions:

  • How healthy is my diet?
  • How many servings of fruit and vegetables do I eat every day?
  • Am I eating whole grains each day?
  • Do I consume added sugar? If so, how frequently?
  • Do my moods affect my eating habits?
  • How often do I eat on the run?

Once you know which areas you can improve, set one or two healthy eating goals using the SMART goal format. That is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
For example:

  • Observing that you eat two servings of vegetables per day, a SMART goal can be to eat three servings of vegetables per day.
  • Or if you order takeout three nights per week, your SMART goal can be to order takeout only once or twice per week.
Experiencing Panic Attacks
  • Around 15 to 30 percent of us experience a panic attack at least once in our lives, which is essentially our body’s emergency response system.
  • Symptoms include more blood being pumped into our muscles, narrow vision, faster breaths and auto-shutting of the digestive system.
  • Side-effects may include sweating and dizziness, and the commotion usually lasts a few minutes.
  • The body is now primed for a ‘fight or flight’ response, and if there is a real danger, a panic attack can be life-saving.

How to cope with a panic attack | Psyche Guides

psyche.co

There are three reactions that the body produces when in the grip of a panic attack:

  1. Catastrophic or danger-oriented thoughts, which fuel the feeling of fear.
  2. Physical symptoms, like sudden racing of the heart.
  3. An urge to escape.

The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) region of the brain is activated during a panic attack, and two opposing components get to work as needed:

  1. The Sympathetic Nervous System: Releases adrenaline and other hormones to help with the ‘fight or flight’ response.
  2. The Parasympathetic system: Calms the body and is mostly activated when one is relaxed.

Being aware of your body’s response and trying to relax can help restore the balance to the autonomic nervous system **(ANS), allowing the parasympathetic system to come in the front.

One needs to understand that panic attacks, in general, are not dangerous but is an automatic response for your protection. It is our mind or the fear psychosis that can cause the real ‘panic’.

Panic attacks can be false alarms in many cases.

The bad thoughts that one may have (“I am about to die!” or “I am going crazy!”) need to be challenged and replaced by rational thoughts like: I am having a stressful, emotional response to a problem, and this will be over in a few minutes.

Breathing deeply and consciously will help your parasympathetic nervous system to get into action. Slowing down your breath also relaxes you in general, and just 10 breaths per minute can minimize many fear-based symptoms.

It’s good to practice beforehand any breathing technique. For instance, the 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness technique makes you breathe slowly while you pay attention to five sights, four things you can feel, three sounds, two smells and one taste.

If you flee the place where you have a panic attack, the problem can penetrate deep inside you, leading to long term fear.

Staying in place makes us face our fears and understand that the thing we feared wasn’t what we imagined it to be. Remember that the panic attack will pass away in a few minutes.

Creating a sleep-inducing environment
  • Turn the temperature between 60 and 72 degrees.
  • Turn off the lights. Artificial light suppresses your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
  • Turn down the noise. Wear earplugs if you have to, or consider investing in a white noise machine.
  • Pick comfortable bedding. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester that trap heat and moisture.
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress.

Why Insomnia Happens and What You Can Do to Get Better Sleep

lifehacker.com

Feeling sleepy after specific meals

Eating roast turkey is often blamed for the sleepy feeling that follows. The reason cited is that it contains the substance L-tryptophan. But other foods have more, for example, egg white, cod or pork chops, or sea lion kidney.

To understand why some meals make you drowsier, you need to know how the body and brain absorb nutrients.

Can some foods really make you sleepy?

bbc.com

  • L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning your body can't produce it. You obtain it from your diet. Your body uses L-tryptophan as a building block to make serotonin, which is associated with happiness. Pharmaceutical preparations of tryptophan can indeed treat insomnia.
  • But tryptophan as a pharmaceutical preparation is not the same as tryptophan from the diet. The protein in a meal also contains large neutral amino acids (LNAAs), and these compete with tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier.
  • For tryptophan to produce serotonin, it needs to be eaten on an empty stomach and without other competing amino acids.
  • Studies showed eating butternut squash seeds (high in tryptophan) with sugar dextrose improved sleep. This is because sweet carbohydrates cause the secretion of insulin which encourages other amino acids to be absorbed in tissues, leaving the typtophan to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Eating turkey may make you feel drowsy because of the combination of other foods eaten with it.

Other reasons include feeling tired, getting work finished off just before the holidays, cooking for large numbers of people, and staying awake for too long. Then add alcohol to a huge meal, and no wonder you feel ready to drop off.

Waking Up Late Means Moving Less

Rising early in the day makes an overall difference in the number of steps one walks during the entire day, with the late risers moving around less.

  • Each of us has a master internal body clock in our brains, along with many smaller cellular clocks that track and absorb outside information.
  • The master clock then makes the necessary body changes, like releasing hormones and chemicals that affect our alertness, hunger and sleep.

Whether You Are a Night Owl or Early Bird May Affect How Much You Move

nytimes.com

Our various biochemical signals, daily lifestyle, and genetic inclinations develop a specific chronotype in us, that is basically our overall biological response to the outside world.

These chronotypes are categorized as: Morning, Day or Night. The person with a morning chronotype will wake up early in the morning and start to feel hungry sooner than the person with a Day or Night chronotype.

The chronotypes we form are not permanent in most cases but have a rhythm of their own, spawning years, and shifting from Morning to Day and eventually, Night, based on our age.

People with chronotypes that are more towards the evening are more prone to various metabolic disorders and are likely to develop obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

A major study in the University of Oulu, Finland showed that people with the morning chronotype moved for about 20 to 30 minutes more than those with the other chronotypes.

This study suggests that people who stay up late and eventually wake up late need to take their exercise routines more seriously.

  • Its origins go back to the existential philosophers of the 20th century, mainly to Jean-Paul Sartre, who declared in 1943 that we are “condemned to be free.”
  • Viktor Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning in 1946, and coined logotherapy as a method of creating meaning.
  • Rollo May moved his perspective of the “existential-humanistic” approach in the 1950s from Europe to America.
  • In 1980, Irvin Yalom defined the basis of the field of existential therapy, by establishing the four “givens” of the human condition: death, meaning, isolation, and freedom.
  • Today there are a few different branches of existential therapy, but they all emphasize the fact that we can deal with existential givens in a way that can move us toward a free, authentic existence.

What It’s Like to Visit an Existential Therapist

theatlantic.com

In 2016, there were 136 existential-therapy institutions in 43 countries across six continents, and existential practitioners in at least 48 countries worldwide.

Recent studies show the benefits of using existential therapy for patients with advanced cancer, incarcerated individuals, and elderly people residing in nursing homes, among others; a number of meta-analyses have gathered data on its effectiveness.

What is existential therapy

Existential therapy concentrates on free will, self-determination, and the quest for meaning. It views experiences like as anxiety, alienation and depression as normal phases in the human development and maturation.

This process involves a philosophical examination of a person's experiences, emphasizing the person's freedom and responsibility to facilitate a higher degree of meaning and well-being in their life.

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